Saturday, February 22, 2014

Dealing With "Things" That Happen

It's not my fault...things just happen.

We have all heard someone say, and if we are honest, we have said this, if not thought it:

"Sometimes things JUST happen."

Especially in regard to sin, especially when it's our sin, especially when we don't want to admit it's actually sin. Because notice, we didn't call it sin, we called it "things".  Because "things" is way easier to swallow and justify than sin.

Let me just shoot straight with you for a minute about the THINGS that SOMETIMES happen:


Many times, and more often than not, we want to throw someone else right under the bus with us and say "WE".  As in WE didn't mean for it to happen.  Look, if you didn't mean for IT, the SIN, whatever that was, to happen, then you make conscious, concerted efforts or good choices, if you will, that will remove you from that sin happening.  It's simple: "Don't Do it"  or "Stop Doing It."

Now, we've all sinned or are sinning, so what do we do about it?

-First, of all we need to own up to our sins, admit that we did wrong.  WE TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR WHAT WE DID.'  We make it right, turn from it, apologize to those we offended or sinned against, which is FIRST AND FOREMOST, GOD.

(We will all fall, both literally and figuratively: Get back up!)

2 Chron 7:14 says,

"If my people which are called by my name shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

I once read that we should insert our own name into the verse in place of "people" and, WOW, does that have meaning, it REALLY hit home with me!  Try it!  Mine goes something like this:

If CHAUNDELLE, who is called by my name, would humble herself and pray and seek my face, and turn from her wicked ways; then will I hear her from heaven and will forgive her sin and will heal her.

This verse is talking to us individually, not just our nation.  It makes you swallow kind of hard when you read the verse that way, doesn't it?

Now God is going to forgive you, BUT, some people may not, (stay tuned for an upcoming post about forgiveness).  We have to focus on our part: doing every thing we are able to make it right, and it starts with confessing and apologizing and then  staying away from that sin.  SO how do we do that?  Well let's start with why we all end up sinning in the first place:

Why do we sin, what is the common denominator of all sin happening?  It's simply called SELFISHNESS! That's it, we are selfish, so we sin.  So how can selfishness be avoided?

It's going to have to start by getting in to God's Word, the Bible, and seeing what it says EVERY day!  We have to pray and have constant communication with God, every day, ALL DAY, in my case!  Find an accountability partner to keep you in God's Word.

Second, we need to make sure we aren't putting ourselves in situations or with people that will weaken our testimony.  If you need to sever some friendships or make some changes in your social calendar, do it! God is the one we need to concern ourselves with pleasing:

"For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ." (Galatians 1:10 KJV)

In closing, I want to encourage you today to not see others sin, but to look into your heart and see your own sin. It's humbling yet freeing when we see it for what it is and deal with it as God desires.

"Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;" (Acts 3:19 KJV)

May you be blessed today.

Much Love from,
Team Gage

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Friend Zone

Found Yourself in the Friend Zone? 

There is much debate these days about how to parent our children.  There are several schools of thought about this and several different parenting styles.  For this post, I want to focus on being a parent vs. being our children's "buddy" or "pal".  Let's face it, parenting isn't easy and personally, we haven't gotten it right a LOT of the time, but we continue to work very hard at it.

We take our job of parenting very seriously, because God gave us two wonderful human beings to raise. And we desperately want to make Him proud.  By striving for that goal, it will make our children unhappy with us at times, and I'm here to say, as heart breaking as that is, it's okay, and it's worth the hard work required.  Now our boys are only 16 and 17, FAR from being raised.  We know the results of what we do all these years, won't be revealed for quite some time.  Maybe not until they are raising their own kids.  But, if we strive to do our absolute best and walk with God on this journey, we can be at peace with our efforts in raising children.

So let's look at what the Bible says about parenting (and no this is not going to be a debate regarding whether to spank or not to spank, that's another subject for another day):

"Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right." (Ephesians 6:1 KJV)

So, if our children are to obey us, that must mean that we should have something set in place for them to obey, like rules or boundaries.  Our children will eventually understand that these are in place for their safety, or for their own good. And again, they may not see this until they are raising their own children.  Boundaries can always be moved, outward as they show responsibility, or inward as they need to earn trust.  Our parenting includes us being very involved in our children's activities, from sports to music to homework to setting goals. We also encourage them in their Christian walk and in their friendships.  And, yes, we spot check their social media (another post for another time!)  It's tiring, and it very often costs us a LOT of time and sleep, but it's worth it -  we don't get this chance again.  We don't get another shot at raising our boys, THIS IS IT!  We want to make everything we do count for good!

Now before you think you are reading a post from the most UNFRIENDLY parent ever, let me show you something as we look at what the Bible says about friendship:

(And I'll be honest with you, I didn't realize how many 'friend' verses there were in the Bible until I began to write about this subject.) I titled this post "The Friend Zone" which has negative connotations in itself, but I realize after delving into this subject matter a little deeper that maybe it is not so wrong to be your child's friend. Take this verse:

A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24 KJV)

(This is actually one of my favorite verses, when the boys were little we had a Steve Green video of Bible Songs for kids and he sang a song with the words to this verse.  I'm smiling right now as I hum along to:

There is a friend (echo) There is a friend
A friend who sticks (echo) A friend who sticks
Closer than a Brother
and F-R-I-E-N-D who sticks closer than a B-R-O-T-H-E-R
Closer than a brother.

Anyway, that friend is Jesus; and that Jesus is part of the Trinity -  which includes God the Father.  And we who are the Saved Children of God through Salvation in Jesus Christ get to call Him our FATHER!  We are FAMILY, we are HEIRS of GOD:

"Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ."(Galatians 4:7 KJV)

So, my Father is my Friend . . . hmmm . . . see where I'm going here?

Jesus said:  "Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you." (John 15:14 KJV)

When we do what we are commanded to do by God, we are showing our friendship, our love for Him.  The same goes for the parent/child relationship.  

Are you following me now?  It's right to be a parent to our children, AND it's right to be their friend, BUT we have to be a "true" friend to them as God is to us.  It's not just about being fun, it's about love and discipline, it's about support and correction.

This is what I found when I  looked up the definition of 'friend': 

- a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard; a person who gives assistance; a supporter

Again . . . hmmmm . . . sounding a lot like how I, as a parent, relate to my child.  

When I looked up the definition of 'parent' in the verb form, look what I found: 

- to parent with both love and discipline


If you think about someone in your life who is a true friend, it's someone who can tell you the truth, even when it hurts. Or, if you are a true friend and you see your friend doing wrong, misbehaving, talking negative, etc. do you let it continue? Or do you speak up and let them know with love that they are doing wrong. Maybe you pray them through a tough time. You let them know you'll be there for them. But, if they continue in their waywardness, you might even try some tough love? Isn't it the same with our children? They do wrong, we correct them; if they continue, we discipline - just as God the Father does with us!  My husband and I have people in our life that we love dearly, because they are able to set us straight when we are doing wrong and we know they are doing it in love, Christ's Love!

We truly believe in parenting by loving, supporting, setting boundaries and disciplining.  Do we get tired? YES! But it's necessary, worth it and rewarding!  Might we challenge you to be your child's friend? But even more importantly, might we challenge you to do it by parenting God's Way?  Start today!

Much Love,
Team Gage

Friday, February 7, 2014

Climbing Up the Mountain

We never really thought we'd climb a mountain...

If you know my wife and I, the one thing that would be obvious to you, is that we are not the most outdoorsy of people.  So it wouldn't surprise you that climbing a mountain was nowhere to be found upon our list of things that together we must accomplish...But that's exactly what we did in more ways than one.

Now to be honest, climbing a mountain is not something that we intended to do.  In fact, it's not something that we ever thought would happen.  But that's exactly what we've done.

Climbing is hard work.

I'm pretty sure that you could guess that climbing a mountain isn't easy.  It takes a lot of effort.  There is no short cut to the top.  It's hard work.  In order to make it to the top, it took us pulling together, encouraging each other, helping each other every step of the way.  We had to work as one, or Team Gage was not going to reach the pinnacle.

Our marriage is the same way.  We have learned throughout the past year, that if we are going to make it to the top in our relationship, we must work as one, we must be one.  The good news is, that is that based upon God's word, that is exactly what we are, one.  The bible says that we are one flesh.  And because we are one flesh, it is crucial that we work together, pulling together for the good of the team of one, Team Gage.

One Step at a Time.

You've probably heard the old adage, "How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time."  It's the same with climbing a mountain.  How do you climb a mountain?  One step at a time.  We made the decision that if we were going to make it to the top of the mountain, we were going to take it one step at a the end, if we were diligent, these little "one steps at a time" would end up taking is to the top.  And that's true in marriage as well.

How do you create and sustain a happy, healthy, God centered marriage?  One day at a time...We all know that the idea is that we will be together until death do us part.  We all see believe going in that we will get married and then live happily ever after...The truth is it takes a lot of days to make up those fifty years.

We decided this year that we would take each day to try and be the best husband, the best wife that we could be...We decided that we would strive each day to give our marriage our very best to honor each other, and our marriage.

And in the end, we would string together fifty or so years of one day at a times.

On a wing and a prayer.

To be honest, given the circumstances, I would say we didn't have much of a chance of making it up that mountain.  We've all heard the phrase describing the pilot coming in for landing with a damaged plane who is said to have made it on a wing and prayer...When you take into account the asthma, and the fact that neither of us had trained to climb a mountain, I would say that "wing and a prayer" described us perfectly.

However, in our marriage, we have found something better than a wing and a prayer to help us reach the top.  We call it "a prayer and a promise".  Because the bible instructs us that today is the day that God has given us, and that we are to give no thought for the morrow, we make promises to each other for today.  We invite God into our marriage each day through prayer, and then we promise each other what we will be for each other today.  For example, each day I promise my wife that I will love her today, that I will cherish her today, and that I will flirt with her today, and think about her today, and that I will chase her today, and on and on...And when tomorrow comes, we do it all again.

We're reaching the top on a prayer and a promise.

Which Mountain Did We Climb?

The picture at the top was taken when we set out to climb Stone Mountain outside of Atlanta, Georgia.  And while it may be the world's largest exposed granite formation, it truthfully isn't all that tall.  However, no matter how big, or how small the mountain may seem, it can still be a daunting task.

In marriages, there are many mountains.  Whether the mountain is a Financial Mountain, a Trust Mountain, a Communication Mountain, a Lack of Desire Mountain, Complacency Mountain, or Mount Restoration, one thing is crucial...The only way to make it to the top is a commitment to never stop climbing.

John 16:33 ...In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

We can tell you this, there is NOTHING, that Jesus can't help you overcome.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Remind Him

Those of us who have been married for awhile, and even those of us who haven't been married quite so long, can easily and unexpectedly, one day wake up on 'Auto Pilot' in our marriage.  We think that since we've been married for "X" number of years, or been through some rough stuff in our time together, that we have a great marriage and will continue to have it just because we think that is how it should be. Because that is how marriage always turns out - I mean, we said our vows, so that should stick, right?

But then one day, something causes you to take a long look at your marriage and maybe peel back some layers, as you honestly ask yourself this question: what have I actively been doing to keep my marriage on track?  Now, notice I said "I".  Don't get sidetracked and start thinking about the things he does or doesn't do.  We are going to look at our role as a wife and institute some simple things to help us do our part in marriage (which will, in turn, help him do his part in marriage).

"Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband." (Ephesians 5:33 KJV)

Now, whether you want to admit it or not, Respect and Love play a HUGE part in every marriage.  "Respect for him and Love for her".  A big part of Respect for me in my marriage plays out in the Reminders . . . no, not the reminders of what he is doing wrong . . . stay with me . . . the reminders of the things he needs to hear and receive from me, as his wife:

Need a place to start? Here are some reminders that come to mind when I think of my husband:

-He is an extraordinary man!  My husband has many talents, some of which include speaking, presenting, singing, dancing, writing, drawing, etc. Plus, he is a fantastic father to our children! What makes your husband extraordinary?  In what area is he talented?  

-My husband is sexy! (And, ladies, we can't just tell them, we have to SHOW them -  more on this subject in a future post already in the works).  Just go with me, he needs sex and he needs to show you love this in way, and you can really begin to appreciate it with lots of practice.

-I am very appreciative of how hard he works to provide for our family.  He has an amazing work ethic and is constantly under a great amount of stress to perform for managment to keep our family fed and clothed.  Sometimes, we may have to sacrifice a bit of time with our husbands, especially if they travel like mine does.  And that can be rough but it makes the welcome home reunion: oh, so sweet!

-He is enjoyable to be around.  Let your husband know that you just love being with him, whether you're touring the Grand Canyon, or sitting at home preparing your tax return.  Being together with our husbands should be simply, enjoyable.

-I tell him how capable he is.  Our men won't admit how much time they spend doubting themselves, but if they know we are in their corner, that we are the ones who believe they can accomplish their goals, their confidence will soar to heights unknown! But, we have to let them know that we believe in them.

-I let my hubby know how well he takes care of me.  Don't just think of this from a monetary standpoint, but think of it in other ways; whether it's watching the kids so you can run an errand by yourself or take a bubble bath.  Maybe he rubs your shoulders to help you relax or takes care of cooking dinner every so often.  Or, like mine did today, drove to my office to bring me my wallet and took my car to fill it up with gas, so I wouldn't have to do it myself in the sub-freeizing temperatures.
Literally, I could go on and on, and the more I pray about it, the more God shows me. If you struggle with this, I encourage you to pray long and hard for some reminders that God can show you for your husband. Also, ask your husband, as I ask mine, from time to time: what do you need from me? Is there anything I can do better for you?  Are there specific things you need to hear from me?

Each day this week, I encourage you keep your marriage out of 'Auto Pilot' by simply reminding him of what he means to you.

Remind him, not only how wonderful he is, but what he means to you in the following ways:
Takes Care of Me

May God Bless you and your spouse as you grow together in Him.

Much Love, 
Team Gage

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Weren't We Just Changing Diapers Yesterday?

See then that you walk carefully, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.  Ephesians 5:15-16.

From the time the boys were one years old, I would joke, "Okay, seventeen years, and you're out of my house..."  I would say that, many times as a reminder to myself that it was my job, our job as parents to prepare the boys for that day when they would be on their own.  It is a job that we have always taken seriously, and only time will tell if we have been successful.  And even more so now that we are down to only a couple of years left...

My biggest piece of advice for those with little ones would be this...


Looking back over the past seventeen years, I would offer this to all those with little ones...REMEMBER this...They only have one first soccer game, one first ballet recital, one first t-ball game, one first softball game, or first piano recital...

What I mean is this, cherish, that gift that you've been given!  Put those little angels that God gave you at the top of the list, just below God Himself, and your spouse...Don't let errands, or housework, or the lawn, or the job, take precedence over spending time, cherishing those little gifts.  Once those days are gone, they are gone.  Walk carefully, redeeming the time.  Don't waste a moment when it comes to letting your children know that you absolutely love being in their lives, and how glad you are that God gave them to you.


Now first, I think you should always be honest with your children.  If they can't carry a tune in a bucket, don't make them think that they will be a star on Broadway one day...And if they are not the most athletic, don't sell them on the dream of playing in the NFL...But do encourage them to try!  Involve them in sports, and music, and art, and dance, and theatre, and whatever else you can get them to try.  And cheer them on!

Be your kids biggest fan in all that they do!  Whether it's a part in a play at Church, or the leading role in a school play, let them know that you are proud of them and cheer them on!  You see we have a generation of kids growing up that may never do anything because they are afraid to try.  I have been amazed through the years at watching the boys try...and sometimes fail, and sometimes succeed and excel.  But EVERY time they have amazed me with their willingness to try.  From riding a mechanical bull, to body boarding in the waves, to skiing, orchestra, band, baseball, football, powerlifting, karate, and more...Not to mention the beautiful music that echos from the piano in the front room...which someday, way too soon will be silent...

My Charge

For the next few days, my charge for you is thus...don't sweat the small stuff...

We have plenty of time to work on the Correction side of things, and next week will start with the twins, Rod and Reproof...

But TODAY, take time to cherish, and to cheer that, or those little gifts that God has given you...Because a day will come, much quicker than you realize that the recitals are over, the seasons are finished, the homework is all done, pen marked walls are painted over, and those little giggles will be off to live life on their own.

May God Bless you and your little gifts today, abundantly above all that you could think or ask!

Team Gage